National integration is impossible without social justice. Social justice means that in the society the citizens must interact and treat one another on the basis of equality. No one should consider others as inferior to themselves on the grounds of religion, race, color, caste or sex.
The framers of the Constitution of India realized that inequality is a hindrance to re realize democracy. Thus securing social justice was identified as the first objective before the nation and was included in the Preamble of the Constitution of India. It stands for elimination of social discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed, color, religion, sex or place of birth.
The Constitution provides a comprehensive list of rights (Part III of the Constitution) of which the right to equality is the most significant for the achievement of social justice. In part IV of the Directive Principles of State Policy also reflects the constitutional strategy for securing social justice.
The right to equality includes:
- equality before law,
- prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, sex, place of birth or anyone of them,
- equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and abolition of untouchability.
Further the constitution empowers the state to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Accordingly there is reservation in government services for these classes. Seats are also reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Anglo-Indian community in the Central and State Legislatures.
Under the right to freedom, the citizens can pursue any business, trade or profession or career.
Right against exploitation tries to end all types of exploitation, prohibition of beggar, human trade and bonded labor.
Special protection of the interests of minorities in the form of their culture languages and traditions are also guaranteed by the constitution.
The Constitution also lays down a number of Directive Principles of State Policy, which are basically aimed at the establishment of social justice. Working of democracy shows that both the central and state Governments have faithfully tried to implement the above provisions for the upliftment of socially backward sections of the state. By inserting Article 31C by the Constitution (25th Amendment) Act 1971, the Government was determined to implement the Directive Principles of State Policy. All these led to the tremendous improvement since independence in the condition of the scheduled castes, the scheduled tribes and women.